Forgiving and forgetting are two different things.
Whether you did something or something happened to you, we can’t forget the experience because it is where the lesson lies. As you look back it should become another story that has woven itself into your life journey, but without reliving the emotional charge it once had.
Forgiving, on the other hand, is a choice. We choose to not be hurt and carry a grudge, or allow the experience to create lasting negative feelings towards ourselves or others.
Because relationships are a common example, on a personal note, I had breakup many years ago that was very difficult and not initiated by me. But what I realized and accepted was that it needed to happen and that it was my ego holding on.
Once I let go, I honored that my relationship had been fulfilling in many ways, but was at a stall. I realized that growth as individuals could only happen outside of its walls in time as each person needed. I chose to learn more about our roles and see things through an empathetic lens. I chose to look inside and grow, applying what I learned to other areas in my life. From there forgiveness just happened. I can look back and say it was tough but I am also grateful for its end. Without this particular breakup I would not have realized my capacity for growth, forgiveness and empathy.
You may have had a similar circumstance but maybe you were on the other side. Perhaps you feel badly looking back, but you also know that you were acting as the person you were at the time. Maybe you could have been more attuned, genuine, honest, forthcoming, present etc. Whatever your experience, it is that awareness that is the lesson learned. From there it is your responsibility to better yourself in those ways if you don’t want to repeat the cycle.
There is always something to be learned from every experience whether it is about yourself or other people. I’d love to hear about an experience you may have had.